A-10 men’s soccer notebook: Rhode Island holds off Denver in OT victory

Rhode Island clinches Atlantic 10 regular season championship

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A-10 men’s soccer notebook: Rhode Island holds off Denver in OT victory

(Collegian file photo)

(Collegian file photo)

(Collegian file photo)

(Collegian file photo)

By David Bamgbowu, Collegian Correspondent

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Redshirt sophomore Derick Arhin’s first goal of the season on Saturday not only secured an overtime win for Rhode Island over Denver, it also capped off the Rams’ brilliant stretch of Atlantic 10 play, resulting in their seventh regular season title in school history.

The game looked to be a formality for URI (12-3-2, 7-1-0 A-10) as the Pioneers (3-11-3) came into the match with just one win in their last six attempts, but after senior Stavros Zarokostas netted his fifth goal of the season five minutes into the firsthalf, Denver did everything in its power to spoil the clinching victory for the Rams. After a barrage of shots in the second half, freshman midfielder Kengo Ohira knotted things up with his third goal of the season in the 56th minute.

Although both teams had ample opportunity to score the game-winner in the second half, the underestimated Pioneer squad held the momentum going into the extra period of play, as it forced URI goalkeeper Stefan Schmidt to make four saves in the final 15 minutes of regulation.

The Rams look to continue their winning ways against Davidson (4-10-2, 3-5-0 A-10) in the tournament quarterfinals, while Denver caps off its regular season against Purdue Fort Wayne.

Saint Louis finishes regular season on a down note

Coming into Saturday’s match against Fordham, Saint Louis had an outside chance to win the A-10 regular season crown. However, the Billikens’ (10-6-0, 6-2-0 A-10) third loss in four games dashed their hopes and relegated them to the fourth seed in next week’s conference tournament.

The Rams (6-10-2, 5-2-1), who were coming off a loss to Columbia, dominated the first half, registering eight first-half shots along with a 34th-minute goal from Tomer Zloczower.

After scoring two goals in the prior three games, SLU looked to even it up in the second half and recorded 12 shots, but only one of those ended up on net, and Fordham goalkeeper Konstantin Weis was up to the challenge. With the victory, Weis recorded his fifth shutout of the season.

Zloczower added his second goal of the game off a long strike in the 88th minute when Billiken goalkeeper Patrick Schulte was caught out of net, all but killing any chance of a SLU comeback.

The teams will reconvene shortly for a rematch in the opening round of the A-10 tournament on Saturday, as the Billikens look to avenge their loss, but this time the stakes will be much higher.

La Salle bounces back big with win over St. Bonaventure 

La Salle came into Saturday’s matchup against St. Bonaventure looking to rebound from its prior loss to UMass, and the Explorers (8-8-1, 4-4-0 A-10) did that and more as they beat the Bonnies (5-11-0, 1-7-0 A-10) 2-0 to secure the sixth seed in the A-10 conference tournament.

La Salle broke the ice early in the first half when sophomore forward Nigel Buckley capitalized on a through ball from midfielder Pat McCarthy in the 12th minute.

St. Bonaventure had a chance to tie it up when it was awarded a penalty shot in the 15th minute, but junior midfielder Fredrik Hansen’s shot went wide. Aside from that chance, the Bonnies recorded just one shot on goal throughout the rest of the game, as La Salle’s defense neutralized the Bonnies’ offense, which had scored 11 goals in its previous four matches entering the game.

The Explorers move on from the regular season to play Dayton in the A-10 quarterfinals on Saturday, looking to extend their season against a Flyers team on a current six-game win streak.

David Bamgbowu can be reached at [email protected]